Fall 2007
Issue # 28

In this issue:

1. Staff News
2. This Just In
3. Project Updates
4. Projects in Action
5. Feature Articles
6. FYI

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 Runoff Rundown

Welcome to the 28th issue of Runoff Rundown, the Center for Watershed Protection's quarterly electronic newsletter!

We hope everyone has been enjoying the colors of Fall, well that is assuming you have deciduous trees and live in the northern hemisphere! The Center has been busy as ever, with several new staff and projects, and we're pleased to report about it all below. Since there won't be another Runoff Rundown until January 2008, we wish all of you a joyful holiday season!


In keeping with November's Day of the Dead celebrations, we joyously mourn the transition of three Center employees into the private sector of watershed consultation.  Rebecca Winer-Skonovd, who started at the Center as an intern and left as a Director, recently joined Larry Walker Associates, Inc. in Davis, CA.  In October, Biohabitats acquired two of our outstanding water resource engineers, Sally Hoyt and Jennifer Zielinski, who just reached her ten-year anniversary at the Center.  As recently certified Professional Engineers, Sally and Jennifer look forward to spreading their design wings as well as being on the winning side of the inter-office challenges of bowling or Frisbee golf. We look forward to continued work with all three in their new roles.

We also welcomed three new members into the Center family this quarter. Alexi Boado joined the Center as Watershed Ecologist in September. He transferred all the way from Washington D.C.'s Department of the Environment, Watershed Protection Division, where he spearheaded green roof, bioretention and other innovative stormwater control technologies as LID Coordinator. Alexi also brings to the Center a Master's degree in Ecology and a Master's of Public Administration as well as an international flair, as he was raised in a Spanish/Serbian home and has worked in Namibia and Chile. That same week, we welcomed Bernadette DeBlander as Watershed Engineer.  Previously, Bernadette was the Conservation Agent for the Town of Seekonk, MA, enforcing the natural resource protection regulations. She possesses extensive civil engineering experience related to geotechnical, hydrologic and hydraulic analyses; site layout and grading; stormwater management; and die-hard Nittany Lion allegiance.  The Center also welcomes our Water Resources Engineer Mike Novotney's new wife, Amy, to the ever-growing pool of Center spouses.


The Center just received a grant from The Home Depot Foundation to help us fund tree planting projects identified in some of our recent watershed and stormwater planning projects in the Bronx River, NY; Tuscarora Creek, VA; and Lick and Little Lick Creeks, NC.  The Center also looks forward to enhancing and disseminating new planting guidance developed under our Urban Forestry project. The funding will also allow us to finally convert our USA, USSR, and retrofit inventory protocols from paper to digital using ESRI ArcPAD and Trimble handheld technologies.  Keep an eye out for an official press release toward the end of the month. 

The Center has released several resources these last few months, starting with the Article 6 of the Wetlands and Watersheds Article Series. More than half of the stream network in the contiguous U.S. is comprised of small headwaters that provide a host of ecological benefits.  This latest article, "The Importance of Protecting Vulnerable Streams and Wetlands at the Local Level," makes the case for expanded local protection of vulnerable streams and wetlands that may not be fully protected by state or federal law due to their perceived isolation from perennial or navigable waters. This article summarizes state and local approaches to closing this gap. It is available for free download here: http://www.cwp.org/wetlands/articles.htm. Article 6 cover


In August, the Center released the first definitive guidance on the art and science of urban retrofitting: Urban Stormwater Retrofit Practices. The latest manual of the Urban Subwatershed Restoration Series reflects over two decades of Center experience in retrofitting more than 25 urban watersheds across the country. This 400+ page manual outlines the basics of retrofits, describes the 13 unique locations where they can be found, and presents rapid methods to find, design and deliver retrofits to meet a wide range of subwatershed objectives. Unlike past manuals with a "limited time" free download, this manual is available as a free download permanently: http://www.cwp.org/PublicationStore/USRM.htm#usrm3.  A hard copy of this Manual will be available in the coming months, courtesy of our friends at the U.S. EPA Office of Water. Manual 3 Cover

The last installment in the Center's Spotlight on Superior Stormwater Programs profile series features the City of Fairfax, Virginia. This small urban city located just west of the nation's capitol has a history of stream bank erosion and associated property loss. To combat this, the City has undertaken an aggressive streambank restoration program funded through taxpayer dollars. This Phase II community has some interesting programs. http://www.cwp.org/resources/stormwater/ffxprofile.pdf.

On September 5, 2007, the Center's Dave Hirschman joined Nikos Singelis from the U.S. EPA NPDES Program and Jay Riggs of the Washington Conservation District for a webcast on "Post-Construction Management, Building Green Programs."  As part of the U.S. EPA Stormwater Webcast Series, the webcast has recently been archived on the Stormwater Training site:

In October, the Center also released an updated analysis for its National Pollutant Removal Performance Database, the Pollutant Removal Database Report v.3. This update to the 2000 document now includes an additional 27 studies published through 2006. The updated database was statistically analyzed to derive the median and quartile removal values for each major group of stormwater BMPs. This brief technical paper can be downloaded here: http://www.cwp.org/Downloads/bmpwriteup_092007_v3.pdf.


What we're wrapping up:

As part of our Gordon Creek Watershed project covered in our last issue, Center staff traveled down to James City County (JCC) to help facilitate a public meeting on October 16th, in New Town, Williamsburg's new planned community.  Over twenty local stakeholders came out to enjoy barbeque and to offer their input about the future of the pristine Gordon Creek area.  Jim Icenhour, representing JCC's Board of Supervisors, gave an introduction to highlight the county's commitment to watershed protection. The Center gave a brief presentation highlighting the unique habitats and species found in the watershed, which hosts one of the best remaining examples of marshland in North America because of its great size and excellent quality. Participants then took part in discussing concerns and goals for the watershed.  The ideas generated by this meeting will be integrated in the watershed plan currently in the works for Gordon Creek.  Once the draft watershed plan is complete, the Center, James City County and area citizens will again meet to discuss the plan.  Thanks to all who attended and provided valuable input!

In October, the Center also held the 2007 Stormwater Institute in Northwest Ohio.  The details are covered in the Feature Articles section below.

What we're working on:

The Center has been working with the City of Charlottesville, Virginia on a project entitled Stormwater Stewardship on Public Lands.  The goal of the project is to identify stormwater retrofit and land stewardship practices on school and park properties across the City.  The Center first analyzed mapping data to determine the best opportunities to treat both on-site and off-site runoff.  Center and City staff conducted field work in July, and identified 50 stormwater retrofit opportunities as well as over 50 landscape management practices, 17 outfall repair projects, and 10 pollution prevention practices.  The team has scored and ranked all of the retrofit projects and the final phase will be to produce designs for several of the highly-ranked projects, slated for release early next year.

The Center has been working with staff from the District of Columbia's Watershed Protection Division to develop a District of Columbia Stormwater Management Guidebook Expansion.  This project expands the current Guidebook in an effort to improve stormwater practices and keep up with new technology, thereby reducing nonpoint source pollution to the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers.  The final version of the Guidebook is scheduled to be completed in December 2008.

On September 26th, over 40 participants took part in the kick-off for the Carroll County Local Site Planning Roundtable.  Steve Horn, Director of Planning in Carroll County and Julia Gouge, President of the Carroll County Commissioners, both welcomed the attendees and applauded the process, emphasizing the County's commitment to watershed protection. Following the introduction of the Better Site Design process and 22 principles, participants were given a charge to work together over the next year to make recommendations to change codes and ordinances that will reduce impervious cover and protect natural resources while still allowing economically-viable development.  To achieve this goal, participants were assigned to four subcommittee groups to review codes and ordinances related to Lot Development, Natural Resource Management, Street Design and Parking Lots, and Stormwater Management.  The subcommittee groups will meet twice before the next full roundtable meeting on February 6, when participants will seek to reach consensus on the recommendations from each group. For local newspaper coverage: http://www.cwp.org/newsroom/Sept07carroll.htm

county commissioners pose by poster


County Commissioner Dean L. Minnich (L) poses with Carroll County Director of Planning Steve Horn and County Commissioner Julia W. Gouge(R) at the kickoff meeting.


Letters from the Field!

September 25, 2007

Greetings from Kent County, Delaware!

Since we started work with Horsley Witten Group and Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson to revise the Delaware Sediment and Stormwater Regulations, the Center sent me up to Kent County to get some first-hand experience with Delaware stormwater management. I spent today taking part in a tour of ditch restoration sites and looking at the conversion of these so-called "tax ditch" sites into natural floodplains with low-flow channels.  Yeah, I figure you might be wondering what a tax ditch is too, but I'm going to leave it to the DE Division of Soil and Water Conservation's website to shed some light on this: http://www.swc.dnrec.delaware.gov/TaxDitches.htm

It's remarkable how the topography here is really flat, and tax ditch channels were constructed over the last 50 years to drain largely agricultural land. These straight channels have degraded, leaving steep banks that slough-in causing sediment problems and poor habitat quality.  Fortunately, some volunteers began working to alter portions of these ditches in an attempt to improve water quality and create habitat to attract wildlife. The DE Division of Soil and Water Conservation has encouraged Tax Ditch BMPs such as one-sided construction, minimizing clearing widths through forested areas, and minimizing construction of downstream outlets. We were shown aerial shots of the sites we visited, so I couldn't resist taking a picture of it to help explain the setup.  No really, I was there!

tax ditch site photo

The row of trees on the left shows the original tax ditch channel.  On the right, is a man-made sinuous low-flow channel with floodplain and pocket wetlands.   Unlike the traditional ditches, which are deep with steep banks that confine flood waters within them, the low-flow channel allows stormwater runoff to spill over into a floodplain during intense rainfall events much like a natural stream would do.  The excess runoff is retained by the pocket wetlands allowing particles to settle.    

The transport of nutrients from agricultural land to waterways is another problem.  To address that issue, some of the wetlands were created to treat the stormwater runoff from the farmland before entering the low flow channel.  Water sampling by volunteers has yielded some moderate nutrient reduction.
We were told that the work was "engineered in the field," monitored and tweaked as necessary.  I think the exact words were "if we had a 2-foot wide bucket on the machinery, then it was a 2-foot wide low-flow channel."  The established wetlands areas are beautiful and have been attracting both wood and black ducks. 

I'm definitely glad that I took the tour and hope to return to see how some of the more recent sites turn out. 

Until next time,


What We're Starting:

The Center was recently funded by the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology to develop a Coastal Plain Watershed Network.  The network will consist of scientists, planners, engineers and watershed managers who work in the coastal plain environment and will serve to adapt, test and transfer coastal watershed protection tools to the communities who need them most. Coastal plains possess physical constraints such as high water table and flat topography, unique development patterns, and water quality concerns (e.g., nitrogen and bacteria). However, much of the existing guidance and tools for watershed protection, land use planning and site development does not take the unique characteristics into account.  Work on this project will begin this month and continue through Fall 2009.  In the next few months, a survey of coastal plain communities big and small will be conducted to determine needs, challenges, key resources and barriers. Be sure to keep an eye out for an email from us about this project if you would like to take part in the survey!

We are officially kicking off our latest watershed planning effort. This time, we will be working with KCI Technologies, Inc. to assess the Accotink Creek watershed in Fairfax County, VA. Some of you may already be familiar with Accotink Creek from our work in Fairfax City over the past couple of years. We are excited to continue working in this area and hope to bring the City and the County together to provide each with recommendations for improved watershed management and stormwater treatment.

Through a Rivers Conservation Planning grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Center and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will begin work in early 2008 on assessment and planning in the Cedar Run watershed, a coldwater trout stream in Eastern Cumberland County, PA.  We will be looking for opportunities to improve local stormwater management to protect and restore this sensitive fishery, working with University of Pennsylvania students on developing project concept designs. 


Periodically, Runoff Rundown has this special section to share news from groups about how our work may have been implemented or how they have helped leverage new funding or projects. Please be sure to share with us how the Center's partnership or resources have made a difference in your community! Email Lauren at lsl@cwp.org!

PIA - Delaware Edition!

We would like to recognize the Appoquinimink River Association (ARA) and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) for their on-the-ground efforts to construct restoration projects highlighted in the Center's 2005 Appoquinimink Watershed Implementation Plan.  Congratulations to ARA for receiving EPA and LID Center recognition for a successful rain garden installation--one of the priority demonstration retrofits identified during our stormwater retrofit inventory. (see  http://www.wwdmag.com/EPA-
 for more detail).  Funding for construction of this project was obtained through a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation proposal for the DE Estuary submitted jointly by the Center, ARA, and the Town of Middletown during the early stages of the watershed planning process--a great example of why it makes sense to apply for planning and implementation funds concurrently. 

DNREC has recently contracted with Biohabitats, Inc. to design a stream bank stabilization, buffer planting, and offline stormwater wetland at the #1 priority restoration site identified in the Appoquinimink watershed plan.  In addition to funding a subsequent stormwater master plan for the Appoquinimink, DNREC is pursuing watershed planning activities to help implement TMDLs across the state.  For example, the Center is working with Duffield Associates, Inc. on watershed plans for both the St. Jones and Broadkill River Watersheds.  We are also working with DNREC, Horsley Witten Group, and Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson on updating the state sediment and stormwater regulations.  Kudos to DNREC on its commitment to watershed restoration not only in the Appoquinimink, but in watersheds across the state. 


Notes from the Field: Watershed Planning, Virgin Islands Style by Anne Kitchell

Earlier this summer, Jennifer Zielinski and I spent ten days in the USVI with our NOAA Coral Program Project manager (Jen Kozlowski) assessing on-the-ground conditions in the Coral Bay Watershed and meeting agency staff and local residents (read as: drinking Cruzan rum and snorkeling).  From this fieldwork, we are developing a mini-watershed plan for Coral Bay to serve as a pilot for subsequent watershed planning efforts across the territory. read more...


Stormwater Training for the Western Lake Erie Basin

During the second week in October, which saw both 90 degree temps and 50 degree downpours, the Center hosted over 100 stormwater professionals for an intensive three-day Stormwater Institute at the Maumee Bay State Park near Toledo, OH. read more...


Recent Center Speaking Engagements/Training:

Post-Construction Management, Building Green Programs – EPA Stormwater webcast – 9/5/07
Stormwater Program Manager Dave Hirschman with Nikos Singelis from the U.S. EPA NPDES Program and Jay Riggs of the Washington Conservation District.  Online viewing at http://cfpub2.epa.gov/npdes/courseinfo.cfm?program_id=0&outreach_id=342&schedule_id=991

Conserving Natural Resources in Growing Communities - conference by Northern Branch Land Trust – 11/8/07
Watershed Analyst Tiffany Wright presented Forest-Friendly Development Practices and Better Site Design

If you are interested in having the Center develop customized training for your organization, please contact Tiffany Wright at tw@cwp.org. For a list of possible topics and more training information: http://www.cwp.org/workshop_marketing.htm.

Design Competition:

Tom Schueler will be one of six jurists for "Integrating Habitats. A design competition." Sponsored by Metro, the regional government that serves the NW Oregon area, the innovative competition offers timely, cutting-edge challenges that will redefine the current language and standards of environmental sustainability. This is an opportunity for multi-disciplinary teams to create designs of the future that integrate built and natural environments. Registration closes December 2007. To register and learn more: http://www.metro-region.org/integratinghabitats. Metro logo

Call for Nominations:

The National Wetlands Awards Program honors individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the conservation and restoration of our nation's wetlands. To recognize exceptional individual achievement in wetlands conservation, submit a nomination for the 2008 National Wetlands Award here: http://www.nationalwetlandsawards.org.

Online Resources:

The Watershed and Wetland Protection Information Kit for County Officials is a collection of resources that can assist county and local officials with efforts to protect and restore the multiple benefits of their community's water resources. The resources were compiled by the Center and the National Association of Counties (NACo) and are available online. Visit http://www.cwp.org/wetlands/naco.htm.

CT NEMO and UConn's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources recently released a CD on the Jordan Cove urban watershed/low impact development (LID) demonstration project. The contents of the CD are now available on the web: http://www.cag.uconn.edu/nrme/jordancove/index.html

Plan2Fund Objective Prioritization Tool (OPT), a free web-based Watershed Planning Tool, provides an easy way for watershed groups and their local government partners to build consensus as they evaluate competing goals and objectives. Download Plan2Fund OPT at http://efc.boisestate.edu/opt.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) has developed a Green Values stormwater calculator that estimates savings from conventional versus green development for several scenarios. Choosing development scenarios (or exact site specifications) and green infrastructure techniques such as replacing half a lawn with gardens with native landscaping or downspout disconnection will generate both hydrologic and cost differences between the conventional system and the green system(s) selected. http://greenvalues.cnt.org/calculator

The UNH Stormwater Center and NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) have launched the Innovative Stormwater Management Inventory web site. This searchable and amendable inventory is designed to highlight innovative BMP strategies implemented throughout New England. http://www.erg.unh.edu/lid/index.asp


CITY TREE Guidelines and Best Practices - Tree Trust and Bonestroo Engineers & Architects worked together to create landscape guidelines and best practices that can be adopted by both public and private agencies. http://www.treetrust.org/urban-forestry/index.html

Online Training:

Swamp School has launched a new eTraining format. This free online class provides a forum for discussion about the Clean Water Act (CWA) guidance to implement the U.S. Supreme Court Decision for the Rapanos and Carabell Cases.  It is an interactive class with project examples, videos and links to more information about the recent Supreme Court Decision. http://swampschool.org/ 


CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Deadline November 12, 2007.  Sustainability 2008: Green Practices for the Water Environment. June 22-25, 2008. Gaylord National on the Potomac, National Harbor, MD. Organized by the Water Environment Federation. http://www.wef.org/ConferencesTraining/Conferences/SpecialtyConference

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Deadline November 30, 2007. 19th Annual Nonpoint Source  Pollution Conference "Progress Through Partnerships: Collaborating to Protect Our Watersheds" May 19-21, 2008. Mystic Marriot Hotel and Spa, Groton, CT. Organized by the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), in partnership with its member states. http://www.neiwpcc.org/npsconference

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Deadline December 5, 2007. StormCon, the North American Surface Water Quality Conference & Exposition. August 3-7, 2008. Orlando, FL. Organized by StormCon.  http://www.stormcon.com/sc.html

CONFERENCE: 13th Annual Conference: Closing the Knowledge Gap - Connecting Maryland's Streams to the Bay. December 6, 2007. Maritime Institute, North Linthicum, MD. Organized by the Maryland Water Monitoring Council

CONFERENCE: World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2008. May 12-16, 2008. Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, HI. Organized by the Environmental & Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. http://content.asce.org/conferences/ewri2008/index.html

CONFERENCE: 2008 AWRA Spring Specialty Conference: "GIS & Water Resources V" March 17-19, 2008. San Mateo Marriott Hotel, San Mateo, CA. Organized by the American Water Resources Association. http://www.awra.org/meetings/San_Mateo2008/

CONFERENCE: Monitoring: Key to Understanding Our Waters. May 18-22, 2008. Atlantic City Convention Center and Sheraton Atlantic City, Atlantic City, NJ. Organized by the National Water Quality Monitoring Council. http://www.wef.org/ConferencesTraining/Conferences/Co-sponsoredEvents/NatlMonitoringConf.htm


Runoff Rundown Team: Lauren Lasher, editor; Anne Kitchell, Tiffany Wright. Contributions from Center staff.

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